Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Computer Science and Computing Course Implementation and Instructor Certification Information

Memo Information

Memo Number
COM-21-083
Memo Date
2/9/2021
Memo Type
Informational
Unit
Central Administration
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
NO
Attention
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Technology Coordinators; General Business Managers; Teachers; Gifted & Talented Coordinators; Curriculum Coordinators; Bookkeepers; School Counselors; Techstart Coordinators or Contact Name; Equity Coordinators (Disability/Race/Gender/National Origin); Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND); District Coordinators (ALE; Homeless; ESOL; SDFS & Foster); Parent Involvement Coordinators/Facilitators; CTE Coordinator (COOPs and regular school districts); Facilities / Maintenance Director

Primary Contact Information

Secondary Contact/s Information

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Memo Text

In the spring of 2017, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Office of Computer Science and the Division of Career and Technical Education (DCTE) published a joint statement on the 2017-2018 Computer Science Initiative implementation (http://adecm.arkansas.gov/ViewApprovedMemo.aspx?Id=2157). In this joint statement, the state announced that “there is no longer a distinction between the two [the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the DCTE] in the field of CS education.” Four years later, as the state is preparing to announce the newest Computer Science and Computing (CSC) courses and pathways, this unified commitment to Arkansans remains. 


Computer Science and Computing Courses and Course Standards


An all new grid of high school CSC courses has been co-developed and adopted by both ADE and DCTE, and will be the only valid CSC courses beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.  All current CSC courses will become invalid as of June 30, 2021. 


Counselors and registrars should notice that CSC courses are transitioning from single semester course codes, as found in the current high school courses, to year long courses. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, all CSC courses will be assigned one course code that represents one year (one full credit). This change will align the CSC courses with the precedent found within the majority of other subject areas and also allow for clearer communications.


For a full list of the new courses and the courses that will become invalid as of June 30, 2021, please visit: https://bit.ly/ARCSCourses 


High School Programs of Study

DCTE has worked with the ADE Office of Computer Science to develop multiple approved CSC Programs of Study (POS)

  • All CSC POSs along with the approved industry certifications can be found by:

  • Approved POSs must offer at least one course option from each of the three levels indicated on the linked POS Sheet.

  • Approved POSs must offer an aligned Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) to students in the POS. More information on CTSO alignment is provided below. 

  • Approved POSs must align to state and federal Perkins requirements if funding is desired.


Career and Technical Student Organization


DCTE policies state a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) is to be offered to students as part of any POS. The Arkansas Technology Student Association (ARTSA) has been deemed by DCTE to be the most appropriate student association for a CS POS; however, making Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) or other CTSOs available to students may meet this requirement based on the activities that the CTSO provides. There is no requirement that a student must join a CTSO to be a completer in any of the aforementioned POSs. Information on the ARTSA can be found at https://www.arkansastsa.org/


Computer Science and Computing Course Instructor Certification Information


ADE provides multiple options for Computer Science and Computing certification. From having four traditional postsecondary teacher preparation programs for first time teachers, to allowing any teacher to add the certification by testing, to over 70 other alternative pathways to certification.


Traditional 4-Year Postsecondary Teacher Preparation Programs

  • ADE has collaborated with four postsecondary institutions to create first time teacher preparation programs for high school computer science certification.

  • These approved programs are found at Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, UA Fayetteville, and the University of Central Arkansas


Addition to Existing Licenses by Passing the Computer Science Praxis

  • Since 2015, 481 of the 1,265 U.S. Computer Science Praxis test takers have been from Arkansas.

  • Pass rate was around 55% prior to 2018 and has increased to 82% since 2018

  • More information is available at: http://bit.ly/CSforARPraxisInfo 


High School Certification Program

  • The ADE Office of Computer Science provides, at no cost to teachers or districts, professional development for educators interested in teaching high school computer science and passing the computer science Praxis exam. 

  • This training is offered every summer, at least twice, as weeklong events, and typically is offered in both the fall and spring over a period of 5 consecutive Saturdays.

  • Full descriptions of this and our other trainings can be read at: http://bit.ly/CSforARPDDes 

  • A list of scheduled offerings with registration information is available at: http://bit.ly/ARCSPD 


Technical Permits

  • Expanded flexibility for certification of individuals who have worked in computer science and/or computing, including information technology.

  • Would allow schools to draw from a larger pool of potential teachers.

  • More information is available at https://bit.ly/CSforARTechPermit 


Non-Traditional


Computer Science Approval Code

  • 40 flexible pathways, including being gained through our statewide training provided by the CSforAR team

  • More information is available at http://bit.ly/CSforARApprovalCode 


Incentives Offered by ADE Office of Computer Science to Support Licensure

  • Reimbursement of Praxis fee once candidate passes and adds area to license

  • Licensure fees paid for educators holding the CS standard license

  • CS teachers are eligible for a $2,000 bonus payment per year for up to 5 years 

  • More information on all bonus programs is available at http://bit.ly/CSforARBonus 



More information on Computer Science and Computing licensure, including how to apply, can be found at: http://bit.ly/ARCSFacts

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